There was once a time when you had to choose between lounging around with your favorite music or the new movie you’ve been dying to see, and getting outside for some fresh air—but no more! With outside entertainment systems, you get the best of both worlds. Imagine lounging on your sunny patio while watching the game or hosting an outdoor party without having to prop the door open for your inside speakers to play a barely-there soundtrack—you can get all that and more with an outdoor entertainment setup.
In some ways, setting up an outdoor entertainment space isn’t so different from setting up your inside entertainment room, but as you might imagine, there are a few factors to consider that don’t apply to your indoor space. That is why you should always work with an audio-visual specialist with knowledge of the best technologies and techniques to make outdoor entertainment functional and enjoyable. Do you have questions about building your outdoor entertainment system? The answers to these common queries may help your plan come into focus.
What can be included in an outdoor entertainment system?
The answer to that question depends largely on how you want to use your space. For example, you may be envisioning something simple, like an audio system for pool parties, or you may want a complete outdoor movie theater experience. The broad categories you should consider for your outdoor system are:
- Media players
- Media control systems
There are other additional categories you may want to consider to make your entertainment area more comfortable, such as climate control and seating. These decisions will ultimately be guided by the kind of space you want to have.
What kind of speakers do I need?
Speakers are a major factor in any outdoor system, especially since you will need them even if you decide you don’t want a screen in your space. Choosing outdoor speakers and planning for the space is much different than it is for indoor systems. The first difference is that you will need to install more speakers outdoors to achieve the same level of sound when compared to indoor systems. Accounting for all of the variables that can affect how your speakers’ sound travels outside is complex, so have an outdoor audio specialist help you decide how many speakers you need and where they should be placed.
When choosing outdoor speakers, make sure you choose ones designed specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor-use speakers are built to withstand water exposure and temperature fluctuations, and they can be placed with more mounting options than indoor speakers. You can find everything from outdoor speakers that are mounted on walls to speakers that are designed to look like garden features. Subwoofers—which are highly recommended for outdoor spaces—can be partially buried to make them blend in.
It’s also important to consider wire placement. Direct burial wire, which is specially designed with a protective sheeting so that it can be safely run underground, is one solution. For wires that will be exposed, it’s necessary to choose UV-rated wire. This kind of wire has an exterior shell that makes it resistant to damage from sunlight. Your outdoor theater specialist may also recommend using conduit for some of your wiring. Conduit encases wires so that they cannot be damaged by rodents and other environmental elements. Many outdoor theaters have underground conduit run through the space.
Can I really put screens outside?
Yes, it is possible—more possible than you might think—to watch TV shows or movies outside. First, as with the speakers, keep in mind that indoor audio-visual equipment does not belong outside. You will need an outdoor screen for many different reasons. It will need to stand up to rain and sun exposure, as well as hot and cold temperatures. An outdoor screen won’t be affected by humidity changes, and will make it easier to manage the glare.
Glare is a significant issue when it comes to outdoor screens. There are a few different ways to address this. One easy and cost-effective option is to install the screen on an adjustable mount, so that you can swivel it into different positions according to the position of the sun. If you don’t want the screen on a movable base, then you will need an option for providing shade to the screen. Awnings are a popular solution, or you could opt to have curtains installed around the outdoor seating area to limit the light. The placement of your screen and the position of your home will have some impact on how big of a factor glare is for your outdoor screen. Your experienced audio-visual technician will help you choose the best options for your budget and design.
Another major decision you have to make regarding your outdoor screen is if you want an outdoor television, or if you want a screen with a projector. The right answer for you will depend on your budget, personal preferences, and how you plan to use the space. A television is simple and effective solution for anyone who wants to watch games or television shows outdoors, but movie buffs may enjoy having a projector screen at their disposal. One advantage of projector screens that some people embrace is that they are easily retractable, so the screen doesn’t always have to take up space outdoors. However, you should keep in mind that projectors are difficult to see in the daytime because of issues with ambient lighting. If you think you will use your outdoor entertainment system most often during the daytime, an outdoor television screen may be a better fit.
What other pieces will I need?
With your screen and sound in place, you’re well on your way to having the outdoor entertainment system that you want. However, there are a few other aspects of your design that you have to pull together to complete your space.
- Entertainment options: You will need some way for your music and videos to play outside. Blu-ray players, 4K media players, internet and cable access, and your favorite streaming services can all work together to provide home entertainment options. Integrating your vinyl players, digital music selection, and satellite radio subscriptions also means that music will be easy to access.
- Media controls: To make controlling your outside entertainment system easy, it should be integrated into your overall home automation system. Often, this means using your smartphone to control the
- Lighting and seating: Both of these factors are dictated by your space. Keep in mind that your lighting shouldn’t interfere with viewing your screen. Opt for comfortable seating with enough room for your guests.
Let the pros at Technology Specialists design and bring to life the outdoor entertain system of your dreams. Our experienced technicians use the industry’s leading brands, including James Audio, KEF, Denon, Sunbright Outdoor TVs, and much more. Talk to our audio-visual experts in Tucson today to start designing your space.